Picture This-September-Portraits Of Muhly

November 14, 2008 macro 093 (2)
The Picture This-September photo contest put on by the fine folks at Gardening Gone Wild has as its subject matter: Grasses. While many varieties of ornamental grass are grown here, including the annual Red Feather grass shown above in the glory of its decay, Pennisetum rubrum, the very special grass of September is the muhly grass.

September 28, 2008 004 (2)
It was hoped that new photos of the beloved muhly grass, Muhlenbergia capillaris could be taken to submit. But as this shot from September 28 of last year demonstrates, it is unlikely the grass will be at peak before the cutoff date for entries of the twenty-second. Rats. To the files we go.

October 8, 2008 rainy 004 (2)
This shot from October 8 of last year on a rainy day is promising.

October 26, 2008 047 (2)
This one taken October 26 of last year coulda been a contender.

November 14, 2008 2x 025 (2)
This one taken on November 14 of last year when we were experimenting with camera settings is full of mystery.

November 25, 2008 042 (2)
This one taken on a morning of heavy hoar frost on November 25 of last year shows the beauty of spent inflorescens well past their prime.

November 8, 2008 024 (4)
But this one taken November 8 of last year with the flaming fall foliage in the background trees is my pick to enter. The muhly grass is a frothy waterfall wet with dew and the illumination of the rising sun makes it look like a watercolor. Hope Judge Nan Ondra likes it.


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58 Responses to Picture This-September-Portraits Of Muhly

  1. Charlotte says:

    Ooh Frances, you have excelled yourself yet again!

    Thanks so much Charlotte. The muhly grass insisted on being entered, even though the shots were from last year. πŸ™‚

  2. I do love images of your Muhly

    Thanks Karen, I love that grass too. Hope we can get some good captures of it this year, so far it has been raining every day as it comes into bloom. I am so not complaining about the rain though. πŸ™‚

  3. How can she not like it!

    Thanks for your support, Deborah. I really appreciate it. πŸ™‚

  4. Darla says:

    I believe any of these photos would have been a great contribution to the contest!

    Thanks Darla, it was hard to choose the one to enter. It was the colorful background that made the decision to go with the last one. πŸ™‚

  5. Tyra says:

    Wonderful Frances, they are certainly my beloved grass as well and I cannot find them anywhere MOST frustrating. Gorgeous picture, pure joy!
    xoxo Tyra

    Hi Tyra, thanks so much. The muhly is not seen much around here either, maybe if people ask at the nurseries for it they might begin offering it. πŸ™‚

  6. Joy says:

    Frances girl ! You did a post on my favorite plant in your garden : ) Now how great is that!
    I don’t enter these photo contests but I wish you the best of luck .. especially for this grass : )

    Hi Joy, thanks, glad this is a favorite plant for you, mine too. There have been some Canadian entries in the contest, just for fun, you should submit something too! πŸ™‚

  7. Kanak says:

    Oh, these are so beautiful, Frances. I think all your shots are strong contenders for the top spot. The last shot wit the wet grass cascading down does look like a waterfall.

    Thanks Kanak. We could only enter one so the final shot was chosen. It was hard to pick one though. This grasss lends itself to the camera. πŸ™‚

  8. Janet says:

    I KNEW you were going to submit your Muhly grasses into the photo contest!! It is just so striking and you have a talent for capturing the light and showcasing it!

    Hi Janet, thanks. I was not going to enter this month, but when they announced the subject was grasses, and since it was September the muhly just insisted on being put out there. Your shot was amazing, a sure winner! πŸ™‚

  9. Beautiful pictures, as always. Your choice of the “waterfall” is perfect. Good luck.

    Thanks Heather. It was difficult to choose, like choosing a favorite child! πŸ™‚

  10. Gail says:

    Frances, If our votes count…this one is a winner! I love this grass~~and totally identify it with your fall garden. Btw, the post is perfect; if I weren’t a muhly lover before, I certainly would be now. Have fun out there…If we see any sunshine, I’ll be in my garden. gail

    Thanks Gail, the muhly is a favorite here and seems to like our conditions. It_______________ is_____________________ raining.

  11. ourfriendben says:

    So lovely, Frances! I look forward to your muhly photos every year, and this was a real feast! I feel refreshed already.

    Thanks OFB. I get a lot of searches for the muhly grass photos throught the year, but they really pick up in the fall. Love that feature on WordPress. I am so glad you are refreshed by the shots, and plan to post many more if it would stop raining so I could take some snaps. Not complaining, though, not complaining. πŸ™‚

  12. Daphne Gould says:

    I have to say, my favorite is October 26th. I love how the light hits the grass. It looks more like a painting than a photograph.

    Thanks Daphne, The light on that particular day was perfect. I have quite a treasure trove of garden shots with that date on them. I never tire going over them again and again, like on rainy days when , oh never mind. πŸ™‚

  13. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    What fun having your own pink cloud in the garden. Simply gorgeous.

    Thanks Lisa, it is not there yet for this year. Do you have a good pink in your color wheel? I might ask for a commissioned work. HA πŸ™‚

  14. gittan says:

    Hi Frances, I just love your Muhly grass! Those are beautiful pictures!
    Thanks for your consern of my doughter and our hospital visities. The reason that we go to that hospital so often is that she ‘s supser-duper allergic to grass (fits with your post) and most times when we’re at the hospital it’s becaurse of that. This fall they will begin to give her vaccine every six weeks and cintonue for tree or four years. After that we hope that she will be abel to be outside in the summer, that’s almost impossible now. She’s almost that allergic to cats to and I do hope that they agre on giving her vaccin for that to. She’s not abel to visit any friend or her sister becaurse of their cats. But the cat vaccin is a bit complicated and you need to get those shots for at least six years, so the doctor haven’t desided yeat if she’ll get them or not. Yeasterday we where removing the plaster she’ve had on her broken arm the last weeks. So as you can see she’s not really “sick” even if we’re going to that hospital a lot right now. Now I’ll better get out there and plant something in those new beds =) Hope you’ll have a great weekend / double kram gittan

    Hi Gittan, thanks. And thanks too for filling in the details about your daughter’s hospital visits. Being allergic to grass is awful, I do hope they can take care of that, and the cat thing too. I love your double curving beds!
    Kram, Frances

  15. commonweeder says:

    It hardly seems possible that a whole year has gone by since I first fell in love with Muhly grass from your photos.

    Thanks, Pat. Time doesn’t wait for us, does it? I do hope to take more and better photos of the muhly this year, they are very popular on the blog. πŸ™‚

  16. tina says:

    It’s so pretty. Bummer it won’t be at peak before the cut off.

    Thanks Tina, but not to worry. The GGW photo contest allows older pictures. I will make a concerted effort to get some different shots this year too. πŸ™‚

  17. Lola says:

    Love all the pics but the last one won my heart. I love all the color & the promises to come.
    Sorry they won’t be ready for this yr. Good Luck.

    Thanks Lola. It was hard to decide and not everyone is attracted to the same things. There will still be plenty of photos of the muhly shown as it comes into its glory. πŸ™‚

  18. Carol says:

    Anyone would do! Wishing good luck to you! Utterly stunning grass, light, texture and composition.

    Thanks for that Carol, your own photos are so amazing. The muhly is a wonderful plant in any setting. πŸ™‚

  19. nancybond says:

    I’ve been waiting for a Muhly post! It truly is spectacular — it almost looks like it’s flowing, moving in some of those photos. Can’t wait to see this year’s offering!

    Hi Nancy, thanks for that. I will be posting lots of muhly photos this year, that is if I can take some decent ones. People seem drawn to them, not a plant that is shown a lot for some reason. πŸ™‚

  20. autumnbelle says:

    I agree with you that the last one is the best. This is the first time I see red coloured grass and I think they look like the pink cotton candy that I buy at the fun fair.

    Hi Autumn Belle, thanks. I appreciate your saying that, for making the decision of which one to enter was quite difficult for me. In real life, it looks even more like that confection. πŸ™‚

  21. … Your photos are incredible amazing!!! Love all your posts.

    Thanks so much, Maria. I do appreciate those kind words. πŸ™‚

  22. wiseacre says:

    I’m with you, the last photo is my pick of the bunch. I like the cascading look.

    Thanks Wiseacre, that makes me feel like I chose the right one to submit. πŸ™‚

  23. Barbarapc says:

    Of a magnificent selection of photos, I like the 26th the best – reminds me of ballerina tutus in the stage lights – so very pretty. Can just imagine them dancing down the street.

    Thanks Barbara. That was my second choice. I do hope the right one was selected since this is a contest. Pink tutus are a perfect metaphor and these are planted right by the driveway, they could just float down the street with the wave of a magic wand. πŸ™‚

  24. LindaLunda says:


    Hi Linda, thanks. I would have known it was you even without the links. HA πŸ™‚

  25. James says:

    They won’t grow properly over here so I can only stand and gawp in awe at yours. I like the shot with the sentinel evergreens.
    Would you do a guest post about biscuits for us when you have a moment, please?

    Thanks, James. I love that word gawp, not one is usage over here. I would love to write something up about biscuits, uh oh, I misspelled it in my comment. I always think it needs a q rather than a c. I will let you know when it is ready for prime time. πŸ™‚

  26. Susie says:

    I love pink muhly….it is truly at it’s best when it is backlit as in your photo. Good luck!

    Thanks Susie, I agree. Our property is a slope, so backlighting happens here. Good luck to you as well. πŸ™‚

  27. VW says:

    They’re all lovely, even if my arms start itching just looking at all that scratchy grass! Good luck in the contest!

    Hi VW, thanks. This grass is soft, unlike some of the others, you can wrap bare arms around it to give it a hug without an itch. πŸ™‚

  28. I like the third from the bottom as well. The one with the row of conifers behind

    Thanks Rob, that was my second choice. It really is a nice view as I turn into the driveway. πŸ™‚

  29. Mary Delle says:

    The muhly is even more beautiful than some blooms. I love how it interacts with other colors in your beds.

    Thanks Mary. The muhly goes especially well with the original knock out rose. πŸ™‚

  30. Why isn’t Muhly Grass hardy to Zone 5! I just love your photos of your Muhly Grass, it is simply the most beautiful grass around, and your use of a mass planting shows it off to perfection.

    Thanks MMD. I can’t answer your question, but our dear friend in PA grows a small plant in a protected spot in his garden, mulching well each winter. The mass planting has been added to this year, for that Lurie effect. I am not sure that I like the distraction of the other plants with the muhly though. We shall study it more then the muhly is fully open.

  31. Catherine says:

    All of these pictures are beautiful. When I first joined Blotanical in January one of the first posts I remember seeing were some of your muhly grass pictures. I hadn’t heard of them before that. I’m sure people stop and look at them all the time.

    Hi Catherine, thanks, that is so sweet. I see that the muhly post was done in January, I had forgotten about that. Another week should see it come to peak, I hope. There will be more photos shared this time around, it is popular with the readers, it seems. πŸ™‚

  32. Pam/Digging says:

    Ahh, the beautiful Fairegarden muhly post. Your images are all winners, and Nan can’t help but be impressed. And now I know that I can look forward to more muhly pictures since your grasses haven’t even hit peak bloom yet.

    Hi Pam, thanks. The muhly seems to have a life of its own on the blog, HA There will be more photos of the muhly thrown in various posts as decent photos become available. πŸ™‚

  33. Meems says:

    Wow, Frances… I almost forgot how amazing your muhly gets each year. That is a great entry and so hard to choose which is best.

    I’ve just planted 20 very small starter plants in July. I am so excited they are actually sending up a smattering of plumes. I wonder if they will ever look anything like yours? That would be stupendous!
    Meems @ Hoe and Shovel

    Hi Meems, so nice to see you and thanks for visiting. That is so exciting about your new planting. I would expect them to look great in no time! πŸ™‚

  34. This is one of those plants that incites instant wantiness in me. Because of course, it’s not hardy here. Snif. It’s so beautiful, it makes me instantly happy to see your photos of it. And just a little envious.

    Hi Jodi, thanks. I am happy you like seeing this plant, even if you cannot grow it, except as an annual. Now you know how we feel when viewing your blue poppy! πŸ™‚

  35. VP says:

    Yep, you’ve save the best ’til last Frances. Like James, I wish we had the climate to grow Muhly grass over here and I’m not a lover of grass!

    Will you be continuing with your Gardens Illustrated subscription? If you do, you’ll be seeing my favourite local nursery next year, courtesy of James πŸ™‚

    Hi VP, thanks. I love GI and have even dropped many of my other magazine subscriptions since they just don’t measure up to its standards! I look forward to seeing your fave nursery, and any other articles by James or anyone else for that matter. πŸ™‚

  36. Rose says:

    Frances, I think you have chosen the best one, but any of them is contest-worthy, that’s for sure. I can see I’m not the only one who covets this beautiful grass. Here’s hoping the breeders come up with a hardy version; I’d love to have a waterfall of pink in my garden, too!

    Thanks Rose, it was hard to decide but I liked the colorful background in the last one. Those breeders are always tweaking nature, maybe they can come up with something for you. Or you could move south! πŸ™‚

  37. lynnsgarden says:

    Frances, I remember your beautiful pics from last year! My one measely plant, though pretty, doesn’t have much impact..I need a dozen more..lol! Good luck in the contest πŸ˜‰

    Thanks Lynn. I started with only a couple of plants myself, and have divided them ruthlessly over the years to get this large mass planting. There were many deaths too, from replanting at the wrong time of year and not watering enough to get them going. Just keep at it! πŸ™‚

  38. Jen says:

    Nobody grows it better! Been looking forward to these. So magical looking…

    Thanks Jen, that is so sweet of you! The muhly does cast a spell… πŸ™‚

  39. Just love the photos of these grasses. Simply breath-taking. Thank you Frances.

    Thanks, Jacqueline, glad you enjoyed these shots from last year. Hope to have some current ones soon. πŸ™‚

  40. Well, I’m sure Nan will love that shot. I sure did. It is positively stunning, the back lighting is fantastic. In a few years I hope the Petite Prairie will show up as beautifully. It has the problem that the backdrop for it is the house next door rather than your incredible fall foliage. I recently posted a comment on GGW saying that the large ornamental grasses need a lot of space to reach their full potential, and this picture demonstrates that perfectly. Good luck with the contest, Frances!

    Good luck to you as well, Hands. Our muhly planting can really only be photographed from one side since the house across the street is in most of the other views, so I understand your dilemma. It has taken a few years for the planting by the driveway to achieve the look it has now, last year was the first real show. This grass is not large, however, like miscanthus or others, each plant is quite small, but there are well over fifty plants in this bed, if not double that number. I have been busy dividing for a while. πŸ™‚

  41. Lythrum says:

    I *love* that picture, it is so vibrant. πŸ™‚

    Thanks Lythrum. Fall is such a colorful season here, the light and the leaves make it a favorite. πŸ™‚

  42. TC says:

    I love the last one too. Good choice. But they’re all great photos. And my! isn’t Muhlenbergia capillaris photogenic?

    (Sorry I’ve not been around lately, I’ve been adjusting to the schedule my new job as school bus driver requires.)

    Hi TC, we are always glad to see you, whenever you can find time. The muhly in bloom is wonderful, okay but nothing special before then though. I will leave the stalks until after Christmas when they just smash down to a mess. πŸ™‚

  43. Sue says:

    I’m not a big grass lover, but we have some because my husband likes them. I don’t think any photos I could take of them would be so great. However, I have heard of that Muhly grass, and for some reason didn’t check into it. That color would go well with a lot of my blooms. It sure looks pretty in your photos! I can’t pick a favorite of the group you took. They are all contest worthy!

    Hi Sue, thanks. I love nearly all the grasses, except pampas which just gets too big for my garden. The muhly is a wonderful plant, and if it is not hardy for you, there may be a similar red or pink flowered grass that would give you some fall interest. Thanks for your support! πŸ™‚

  44. dowhatyoulove says:

    Wow, what spectacular grass! I will have to remember that one, its so stuning. I think thats a great choice for the contest, I bet you will do well! Lovely to see pictures of your garden.

    Thanks, your support is much appreciated and glad you enjoy seeing the Fairegarden. πŸ™‚

  45. RobinL says:

    I’ve been waiting for new photos of your lovely muhly grass, but last year’s will do for now. I like the one you picked, but I love the one from October 26. Good luck!

    Hi Robin, thanks. I keep taking photos of the muhly but it is just not all the way in bloom yet and between constant rain and dark skies, good shots have been hard to come by. Soon that will change. πŸ™‚

  46. The one taken on October 26 is so lush and magical– I’ve put muhly on my must-have list. Clever post idea!

    Hi Carolyn, thanks and welcome. Entering the photo contest is always a fun post. πŸ™‚

  47. A plethora of pink perfection!

    Good one, Monica! Alliteration is so fun and plethora is just fun by itself. πŸ™‚

  48. Tatyana says:

    Muhly is majestic. There is no need for flowers anywhere near it. I want to touch it.

    Thanks Tatyana, I agree. It is touchable too, not like some of those grasses that will give you a paper cut! πŸ™‚

  49. It’s muhly time again I see. Such lovely grass but for some unknown reason Piet Oudolf seems to have missed this one as it is very hard to find in The Netherlands. 😦

    Hi YE, thanks. Why has our man Piet not looked into this one, I wonder? It is worthy IMHO. Maybe you should speak to him. πŸ™‚

  50. Beckie says:

    This is one grass I would love to have in my garden. I can see it now cascading over the wooden side walk. Oh well, maybe one of these days.

    Your pick is excellent, but my favorite is the Nov. 14th one. Soft verses hard- semetrical verses wild and free. Good luck!

    Hi Beckie, thanks. It does look lovely cascading over stuff. It was hard to choose which shot to submit, thanks for telling your fave, I like knowing what others think. πŸ™‚

  51. Jean says:

    Yes, I like what you picked best as well. When I saw the title of your post I thought “surely she doesn’t have that lovely muhly already blooming away?!”. Mine has just started putting out some blooms so I imagine yours is too. Since I only have two of the plants I won’t have the same kind of spectacle though. But I did get some more blooms out of my cactus so I’m happy. πŸ™‚

    Hi Jean, thanks. The muhly is blooming, but not open fully to get that pink cloud effect yet. I started with only two purchased plants, with many years of dividing, lots of deaths along the way with doing so at the wrong time and not watering the babies as well as they needed. Hooray for your cactus blooms too. πŸ™‚

  52. mothernaturesgarden says:

    My seeds are planted, it is raining, and I’m waiting for the perfect temp for those little grains of promise to sprout.

    Great, Donna! I don’t know the secret to germination, but wouldn’t look for anything until next year, but could be wrong about that. My own efforts are not productive, but leaving the grass standing until after Christmas has given us babies in the gravel paths the next summer. πŸ™‚

  53. They’re alive! It will be hard for the judge to resist such drama Frances. More wow factor you got there. I do have Muhly survivors from the first planting that over wintered here. One even has a bloom stalk. All the little babies from this year are doing fine. Slow growing grass compared to others though. Just maybe I can get a good shot of my Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ for the contest tomorrow before the deadline.

    Hi Christopher, thanks. Hooray for your muhly, I really think the babies have the best chance of surviving being dug and moved. A few of our little ones are showing a small bloom stalk too. This is not a large or vigorous grass, as you saw at my place. The mass planting makes it look big, but that is well over fifty plants closely spaced. Your miscanthus would be a great subject for the contest, good luck! πŸ™‚

  54. Wowowowowowowowowowowow! A new break-my-heart-it-isn’t-hardy-here plant to pine over. It would be hard to pick my favourite from your photos. As a photograph, I lean towards your second choice, but as a picture of garden perfection I’ll support you in your fave. And did I mention: wow wow wow.

    Thanks Helen, it is a grass that likes the warmer climates unfortunately. As for the photos, it was liking trying to pick a favorite child, impossible. πŸ™‚

  55. Raji says:

    WOW…wow is all I can say

    Hi Raji, thanks and welcome. Your shot is just fabulous, good luck! πŸ™‚

  56. I think you picked a winner, Frances, the last shot is absolutely inspiring!

    Thanks Linda, it was hard to choose, but the last one spoke to me. πŸ™‚

  57. marmee says:

    this is beautiful francis…good luck with the contest. all of your photos are of your grasses are wonderful…i really love the first picture.
    happy september.

    Thanks Marmee, glad you liked that one, you are the only person to comment on it. Happy fall today! πŸ™‚

  58. Sweet Bay says:

    That Muhly is just gorgeous! It looks like a cloud of purple cotton candy, only prettier.

    Thanks Sweet Bay. The cotton candy analogy is quite apt, especially when the grass is wet and kind globs up. Very technical term there. πŸ™‚

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